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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Tips for Renting a Car in Any Country

Look in to getting an international driving permit. Some countries require this. It took me 20 minutes to get mine from AAA in the United States.

Take photos of the vehicle before leaving the parking lot and GET FULL COVERAGE! The antenna of the vehicle I was driving, snapped off from the cold brisk wind. See photo below!

Get the GPS. Our cellphones died. It consumed more juice than the plug could provide in the car. With time constraints, an extra 30 minutes could be detrimental. Also guided tours are sometimes programmed with it!

Make sure there is at least $1,000.00 available on your credit card for deposits and incidents. When renting a car in Heathrow, we decided to get zero insurance at the office because we purchased it online. That resulted in a $1,000.00 deposit instead of $400.00 for a $20.00 coverage. We called the online company and canceled our insurance through them to buy it at the counter to reduce our deposit instead.

Pay everything with credit card. One, so it's tracked and if there are any disputes such as the rental company telling you to fill to a specific amount, you can file the claim with your credit card company. Two, I just learned this, some credit card companies also have insurance. Do some research online and let me know what you find! Three, this includes paying gas with credit card. Your card is protected by the FDIC, at least in the United States. If your card is scammed, there will be hope.

Know your region. Traveling through the land of fire and ice? Get a 4x4 or at least something that allows you to drive over a small stream. Travelling through the city? That Lexus is nice when your lanes are bigger, otherwise you'll be puckering pretty hard when cars are coming in your lane to get around parked vehicles, especially at 50 kilometers per hour. Also, know which side of the road you're driving on!

Watch out for speed cameras!!! Your GPS will sometimes help you.

Sign up for all rental companies. Their points and perks will add up. Only renting once? Call a friend up and give them your points!

You have to have a credit card in order to rent any vehicle. Make sure you have one.

Only use one person as the driver and make sure they're older than suggested age limits to avoid extra charges.

Fill up, fill up, fill up. Keep your car above half tank. Especially in an unknown region. The next station could be 20 miles away, which could be the doom of your holiday. Especially if you've been car camping overnight with the heat turned up to keep warm. Travelling is already stressful. There's no need to sweat over a low fuel light.

Before renting, read a blog or two to understand what might not be covered with insurance (like tires in Iceland!)

Also research to make sure you are not double paying insurances when buying traveler's insurance.

As I think of more, I'll update this article.

If there are any other great tips for renting a vehicle in another country, please post them below!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Who's Cat is This?

Somewhere between the time of the sun burning my flesh and the crack heads falling asleep, I was enjoying a nice evening teaching myself how to color, beyond staying in the lines.

As I looked up from my painted preserved tree, I noticed someone's cat was in my yard last night...

If y'all are looking for your beloved family member, I found it. It kind of tore up my yard. Please make sure your pets stay on a leash when letting them outside. And remember, if you're cold, they're cold. Bring them inside.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

First Time Aquaponics Attempt

The short: “Fish are friends, not food.” – Finding Nemo
The long: I will be updating this post as time continues. UPDATE 08-01-2018!

The Setup:
Fish tank kit
Pool Noodle
Fish Food/Tank supplies
Pet Supermarket


 I suck at making awesome elaborate posts, so here it goes.

Usually, you want to start your tank running a full 24 hours before adding fish. This allows healthy bacteria and harmful chemicals to even out before throwing fish in to their new environment. I already started growing peas in a tray outside when I decided to take on this project. With this in mind, I grabbed a pool noodle to help the plants float in the tank. Impatient, I may have just thrown them and my new fish together right away (although you absolutely must let the fish get acclimated to the water temperature and chemicals first before just dumping them straight in).  – If you’ve never seen fish get shocked before, YouTube it.

Before purchasing a pool noodle from Walmart, I found black foam on the ground after the hurricane to experiment with. I really try to upcycle as best I can, but again, I’m not perfect at that either. Hence why my slogan is “Heather tries at life.”

After the filter ran for a couple hours, the fish were ready to go!

Day 1 – The plants started looking a little sad at the end of the day. It is possible that they weren’t receiving enough nutrients. One theory, is that I completely stripped those nutrients after removing soil and dumped the plants in the aquarium filled with pool noodles and fish.

Day 2 – With help of the LED lighting and constant water circulation, it appears oxygen was capable of getting to the roots, giving them a boost. I nearly killed half of the sprouts plucked on the day of putting this aquaponic system together because I let the sprouts dry out a little too much. The biggest advice I can say while setting your system up is to NEVER let the roots dry out. You’ll be looking at a dead limp plant.

Day 3 – I can’t have nice things. My plants looked healthy and seemed to be bushy with a lush green. That was, until I dropped the lid on them. All became crooked and the original black foam I was using for some of the sprouts became too water logged. However, I saved them off to the side for a smaller starter system. Yay recycling.

Day 4 – Plants look like they’re still lacking nutrients. Fish were fed a little extra. I did not know goldfish will continue to consume and forget they have consumed. I almost learned the hard way, goldfish will eat until they die.

By the way, I chose goldfish because they were $80.00 cheaper than five Koi. Koi are VERY expensive. Also, shiners for bait fish, require a little more effort than I was willing to give. Just something to think about when you’re trying to save the Earth on a budget.

Day 7? – I kind of lost track already. There’s a lot of energy put in to rotating around the sun. I’m just saying.

Day 8 – I’ll continue here. I think. My pea plants look like they’re very skinny instead of bushy. I compared them to the plants growing outside, but maybe it’s because with my aquaponic system, they might be able to grow taller.

I don’t know why I never attempted this sooner. Fish are so relaxing to look at. Especially when your world is consumed with stress, like fighting people at Wal-Mart and pissing off the turtle haters while saving creatures from humanity.

Below are some pictures, not in any order of what the progress has been. Still messing with the format. What bloggers don't say, is how long it takes to actually format and post their material. One man band over here! Anyways, enjoy! 

Click HERE for more photos!

More updates and photos to follow!

Update 11-19-2017*

I'm sad to report, my aquaponic system did not make it. While it was a fun attempt there were multiple reasons my plants withered away. I'm pretty sure my experiment lasted a grand total of 20 days.

Let's cut straight to the point.
Lighting - I left my light on for more than 12 hours a day. Some leaves would turn to a crisp after being dried out for so long. The light was small so only a small concentrated area would receive enough UVs. To combat all of this, I would recommend obtaining a timer for scheduled lighting. 
Nutrients - I chose goldfish because they were supposed to be a very messy fish. Well, messy in fact they are. They would even eat their on faeces. The tank would essentially be spotless from the amount they consumed, leading to my next problem.
The Fish - They literally eat anything and everything! I believe because they wouldn't stop, they murdered the plants even quicker because their root system was getting destroyed.

Needless to say, it was an interesting experience.

UPDATE 08-01-2018*
Maybe I should just stick to growing plants in water before adding turtle bait. Unfortunately, the last sacrifice was given a viking ceremony to the sea. I'm not very good at this and wonder how many other people have lost a couple fins along the way.